Slipping into old bad habits

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When the California stem cell agency was in start-up mode, the staff had a difficult time making key documents available before oversight committee and subcommittee meetings. I thought those days were a thing of the past, but I was wrong.

The Governance Committee is scheduled to meet tomorrow (Wednesday) in San Francisco with phone-in locations available to the public in Carlsbad, Sacramento, Los Angeles and La Jolla.

The agenda calls for consideration of an amendment to the agency’s contract with outside counsel, Remcho, Johansen and Purcell. There’s also an item for an update report on contracts and interagency agreements.

Outside contracts are big deal and need to be closely scrutinized. As Dave Jensen notes on his California Stem Cell Report the agency spends around $2 million a year on outside contracts. That’s the second biggest expense after the $5 million annually for salaries and benefits.

The agenda for the meeting was posted about a week ago. So far, however, none of the documents to be discussed are available.

There is simply no excuse for the documents being unavailable the day before the meeting. They should have been there when the agenda was posted. Members of the subcommittee cannot make informed decisions when they receive documents at the last minute. Nor can interested stakeholders offer intelligent comment.

This is simply not the way to run a $6 billion publicly funded program.

Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog
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